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And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
SCENE II.-The same. A Room in a Cottage.
Enter SNUG, BOTTOM, FLUTE, SNOUT, QUINCE, and STARVELING.
Quin. Is all our company here?
Bot. You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.a
Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and the duchess, on his weddingday at night.
Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow on to a point.
Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.
Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll: Masters, spread yourselves.
Quin. Answer, as I call you.-Nick Bottom, the
Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and pro
Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love.
a Scrip-script-a written paper.
Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest :-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
"The raging rocks,
And shivering shocks,
And make and mar
The foolish fates."
This was lofty-Now name the rest of the players.— This is Ercles' vein,a a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.
Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.
Flu. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You must take Thisby on you.
Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight?
Flu. Nay, faith, let not me play a woman; I have a beard coming.
Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask,b and you may speak as small as you will.
Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too: I'll speak in a monstrous little voice;" Thisne, Thisne,-Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby dear! and lady dear!"
Quin. No, no, you must play Pyramus; and, Flute you, Thisby.
a Ercles-Hercules-was one of the roaring heroes of the rude drama which preceded Shakspere.
b In Shakspere's time the parts of women were personated by men and boys. The objection of Flute, that he had "a beard coming," was doubtless a common objection; and the remedy was equally common-"You shall play it in a mask."
Bot. Well, proceed.
Quin. Robin Starveling, the tailor.
Star. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother. Tom Snout, the tinker.
Snout. Here, Peter Quince.
Quin. You, Pyramus's father; myself, Thisby's father; Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part:-and, I hope, here is a play fitted.
Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar, that I will make the duke say, "Let him roar again, let him roar again."
Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.
All. That would hang us, every mother's son.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 't were any nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus: for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentlemanlike man; therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
Quin. Why, what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-coloured beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced.-But, masters, here are your parts: and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night: and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight; there we will rehearse for if we meet in the city we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties a such as our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.
Quin. At the duke's oak we meet.
Bot. Enough. Hold, or cut bow-strings.b [Exeunt.
a Properties. The person who has charge of the wooden swords, and pasteboard shields, and other trumpery required for the business of the stage, is still called the property-man.
b A proverbial expression derived from the days of archery : -"When a party was made at butts, assurance of meeting was given in the words of that phrase."
SCENE I.-A Wood near Athens.
Enter a Fairy on one side, and PUCK on the other.
Puck. How now, spirit! whither wander you?
Fai. Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
In those freckles live their savours:
Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night;
a Orbs. The fairy rings, as they are popularly called. It was the Fairy's office to dew these orbs, which had been parched under the fairy-feet in the moonlight revels.
b Pensioners. These courtiers, whom Mrs. Quickly put above earls (Merry Wives of Windsor,' Act II. Scene 2), were Queen Elizabeth's favourite attendants. They were the handsomest men of the first families.
Lob-looby, lubber, lubbard.
a Changeling-a child procured in exchange.